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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 09:20 AM ET, 01/30/2012

The week ahead for traffic, transit

Travelers will encounter mild temperatures this week, with the best chances of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, the Capital Weather Gang says. There’s a slight chance of snow mixed with rain on Saturday.

Travel highlights for the week include the closing of a Metro entrance at a heavily used station and some changes affecting Capital Beltway traffic.

Dupont Circle escalators

The south entrance to the Red Line’s Dupont Circle station is scheduled to close for 8 1/2 months starting Wednesday. Metro pledges that all the escalators on the north Q Street entrance will be working when the south side closes. The transit authority also says it will monitor the escalators and have mechanics on call to quickly address any problems.

The north entrance to the Farragut North station at L Street and Connecticut Avenue NW is about a seven-minute walk from Dupont Circle’s southern entrance and a reasonable alternative for travelers south of the circle.

The big wooden box that severely restricted platform access was taken down, revealing a platform-to-ceiling support pillar. Heavy construction equipment has been removed. Work will continue on the ceiling but only overnight.

Metro daily track work

Red Line: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, trains will share a track between Friendship Heights and Medical Center. Metro says riders may be delayed about 10 minutes.

Late at night, trains will share tracks between Friendship Heights and Medical Center, and between Takoma and Forest Glen. Monday and Thursday, the work will begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; when there are events at Verizon Center, the work will begin at 10 p.m. Once work begins, trains will leave their terminal stations every 30 to 35 minutes. Riders should anticipate delays of 20 to 25 minutes along the line.

Orange Line: Starting at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, trains will share a track between Ballston and Foggy Bottom, and between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory. Trains are scheduled to operate about every 25 to 30 minutes, but riders should allow 20 to 25 minutes to get through the work zones. For some riders between D.C. and Arlington, Metrobus Route 38B (Farragut Square-Ballston) may be a useful alternative.

Blue Line: After 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, trains will share a track between Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom, and between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory. The trains are scheduled to operate every 25 to 30 minutes. Riders should allow 20 to 25 minutes of extra travel time to get through the work zones. Some riders between D.C. and Virginia could use Yellow Line trains via L’Enfant Plaza as an alternative to the Blue Line.

Green Line: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, trains will share a track between Fort Totten and Prince George’s Plaza. Metro says this could add about 10 minutes to normal travel times.

After 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, trains will share a track between Naylor Road and Branch Avenue. Riders should allow about 10 minutes extra on their travel times.

Yellow Line: During the midday work on the Green Line, Yellow Line trains will go no farther north than Mount Vernon Square during those hours. (The Yellow Line normally goes on to Fort Totten at off-peak times.) Riders who want to continue north should switch to Green Line trains on the same platform.

More Mark Center buses

Starting Monday, Metrobus Route 28X (Leesburg Pike) service will be extended to include eastbound trips in the morning and westbound trips in the evening serving Alexandria’s Mark Center, where thousands of federal workers have been relocated.

Riders can travel every 25 to 30 minutes during rush hours between Tysons Corner and the Mark Center, near Seminary Road and Beauregard Street. The 28X will provide faster service, with fewer stops than the local route 28A, Metro says.

Stops will include the West Falls Church Metrorail station and Seven Corners Shopping Center.

The new service will remain on Leesburg Pike at Baileys Crossroads , but will no longer serve the stops Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. Riders transferring between the 16 and the 25 Line buses and the 28X will need to do so along Leesburg Pike rather than Carlin Springs Road.

In June, Metro says, service between West Falls Church station and the Mark Center will be increased to every 15 minutes.

D.C. streetcar drains

The District Department of Transportation is replacing 23 drain systems along the streetcar tracks on Firth Sterling Avenue and South Capitol Street in Anacostia.

That’s good news for bicyclists who were concerned that their wheels would get caught in the old-style drains, but it means some off-peak lane closings and traffic shifts on those roads through Thursday.

Interstate 66 meetings

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to hold two public information meetings this coming week about the future of I-66 between Route 15 and the Capital Beltway.

The first session is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Four Points Sheraton, 10800 Vandor Lane, Manassas. The second will be 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at VDOT’s Northern Virginia headquarters, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax.

Beltway lane closings

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close all lanes of the Capital Beltway’s inner loop just before Exit 47 (Route 7) overnight Friday. During those hours, workers will set a 250-ton steel bridge girder, part of the high-occupancy toll (495 Express Lanes) project. At 9:30 p.m., crews will close one inner loop lane just before Route 7. By 11 p.m., all lanes will be closed.

Drivers will be detoured to Exit 47B (Route 7 east), then they will cross over a temporary access ramp and get back onto the Beltway. Watch for police directing traffic.

Beltway drivers who want to reach westbound Route 7 also will be directed to use Exit 47B, follow the detour, then turn left onto westbound Route 7.

The left lane in each direction on Route 7 also will be closed, and there will be temporary traffic stoppages of up to half an hour for all lanes after 11 p.m.

All lanes will be reopened by 7 a.m. Saturday. The delays during this work are likely to be extensive, and drivers should consider alternative routes.

Beltway/I-66

Drivers complain about congestion in and around the newly reconfigured exit from the Capital Beltway’s inner loop to westbound Interstate 66, a work zone for the high-occupancy toll (495 Express Lanes) project.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has been monitoring the area since the left exit was closed, VDOT spokeswoman Jamie Breme said. To address the delays along I-66 West at the interchange, crews will open a third lane at the Beltway. This change should occur this coming weekend, she said.

To do this, crews will modify Exit 49 from the outer loop to I-66 west, reducing the two-lane ramp to one lane. That will create room for the third through lane on I-66 in this area.

The interchange is still in a temporary traffic pattern because of the work zone, Breme added. Ultimately, there will be three through lanes and one HOV lane for westbound I-66. The work is scheduled to be completed by this summer.

This weekend on Metro

Buses will replace trains between Foggy Bottom and the Court House and Pentagon stations on the Orange and Blue lines. The Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations will be closed.

Crews will be working in the tunnel under the Potomac River, requiring the closing of that segment of the two lines from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday. Riders should add 15 to 20 minutes to their normal travel times if they’re using the buses.

Blue Line riders might consider taking the Yellow Line across the Potomac. Orange Line riders might use the 38B Metrobus as an alternative between Ballston and Farragut Square. The bus uses the Key Bridge over the Potomac.

By  |  09:20 AM ET, 01/30/2012

Categories:  Commuting, Metro, Capital Beltway, BRAC

 
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